I think this entire blog post can be summed up best in a quote by C.S. Lewis.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Building the foundation of how our children “see everything else” is building their Christian worldview. The definition of a worldview is a particular philosophy of life or perception of the world. As a Christian, my perception of the world is to strive to see the world as Christ would. But this isn’t easy to do personally, let alone to teach our students to do it. Where do we even begin? There are books written and speakers speaking in length about this subject right now because it is so important. I love their passion and I love the deep conversations, but once my heart truly believed that this is how I wanted to teach my students, I needed to have practical application. How do I help my students see the world through the eyes (and heart) of Jesus?
Well, I am sorry to disappoint you but this is where I tell you that I don’t have all the answers. I have been actively pursuing this in my classroom for about 4 years and I still feel like I am at the tip of the ice burg. But I can share with you what I’ve learned so far…
I decided the best place to begin was to tell my students what I was doing. I wanted them to know that God made them, God loves them and God wants them to see this world that we have been given as a gift. He wants us to see the world the way His one and only Son did during his time here. To put that in Kindie language was simple, we wear our “God Goggles”. It’s just like when you are swimming and you try to open your eyes under the water but everything is blurry and confusing. Then you put your swimming goggles on and suddenly there is a beautiful underwater scene that you could never have imagined, let alone understood. Our world is like that too. When we look at things around us they might not make sense or they may be confusing. But when we put our “God Goggles” on, we begin to see the world as God intended. Instead of looking at a tree and saying, “That is a really big and beautiful tree!”, we can look at a tree and say “Wow! God created that tree! It was part of His master plan. He knew just how He wanted that tree to look and what He wanted that tree to do. Just like He knew exactly how He wanted me to look and exactly what He wanted me to do!” And, because I am a kindie teacher, I love hand motions that go along with everything! So my students and I get out our hands and make little goggles around our eyes to better see God’s world.
The next step was to try to make it real for my students by using examples from my own life. I think that often times Christian school teachers can fall into the trap of making Bible a “subject”. I know I have been there and done that too. But if my students could see me talking through how I am working on my own Christian worldview, maybe it could seem like a real way of life to them. Maybe, just maybe, they could start to internalize it too. So I share with them how I see it. I might start the day by telling them that when I saw the sun rise in the morning, it made me immediately want to sing a song to thank God for the day He has given me. Or when I heard the story about the people whose homes were flooded it made me sad and want to cry. That I stopped right there and prayed to ask Jesus to help them. The more real life stories I can share, hopefully, the more ways they will see God in their own lives.
Lastly, I intentionally make a connection. I look through my lesson plans and pray. I ask God to help me find the connection between what I am teaching and how I can make Him be a part of it. Sometimes He gives me great ideas. Sometimes He doesn’t and I am ok with that. But it has been remarkable how my own thinking has changed. No longer do I just see a lesson about counting money in Math. I see an opportunity to share with my students what the Bible says about money and stories I have read from the Bible that show people using their money in good and bad ways. No longer do I just see a writing lesson. I see an opportunity to talk about the power of writing that I have experienced while reading the Bible or Christian authors, and how God gives us that power in our writing too. I want to be intentional so my students can experience the richness of all that our “God Goggles” have to offer.
Like I said, I am still a baby when it comes to understanding everything there is about teaching with a Christian worldview! I really respect those middle and high school teachers who try to tackle Christian worldview with a much different type of student, (God Bless You Teachers)! But I do know that in my struggle to get it right, I am seeing each student that comes into my classroom through the eyes (and heart) of Jesus! And that is a great place to start.